Previously: Hello post
One of the earliest games David filmed this season took him to Centerville, Ohio, which definitely sounds like either the town where all of Norman Rockwell’s imaginary subjects lived or the setting of a show on the CW. On this night its high school hosted 2019 TE commit Erick All and his Fairfield squad, and this is where the entertainment analogies die. Even Centerville’s mascot, the Elk, sounds idyllic, but Fairfield squashed them, 49-21. The downside to running roughshod over the opponent was Fairfield’s lack of passing, particularly their lack of targets of All. He did run enough routes to get a good feel for his athleticism, but more important to both Fairfield’s outcome and our scouting purposes was his blocking in the run game. Anyone who has watched with more than passing interest this season has seen the importance of blocking when Michigan lines their tight ends up as H-backs, and this tape allows us to extrapolate and get a feel for how All might fit in that role.
[After THE JUMP: every-snap film and scouting]
[#83, lined up as an H-back or in the slot]
All’s upside as a receiver is the primary topic of discussion in the scouting reports I’ve seen, and the film shows him run his routes with a smoothness and easy athleticism that renders the amount of space devoted to the topic understandable. At 2:45 All beats press coverage with a quick chop of the feet and an inside release, then he gets inside a would-be bump by planting hard on his outside foot to turn his route straight up while avoiding drifting toward the hash. All then runs a very nice route at 3:15, getting close to the defender before making his inside cut and taking two big diagonal steps on said cut before going horizontal; those diagonal steps bring All across the defender’s body and effectively wall him off before leaving him behind. The play at 3:34 shows another nicely run route, this time with an exceptionally fast and smooth transition from an out to a fade two seconds after the snap. Then there’s a textbook example of making your cut when you’re on the defensive back’s toes at 4:09, and the blithering openness of the 45-degree part of the corner route is a testament to what happens when the cut is well-executed.
The unfortunate part of this reel is the decided lack of downfield opportunities for All. The only one we can analyze comes at 5:54, where he does a nice job tailoring his route to what he sees in the coverage, taking a small step to the interior to avoid the bump and then getting downfield in a hurry. In fact, he’s there so fast he has to slow down to adjust to the ball before high-pointing the deep shot. All almost Mosses the safety that comes over to help, but he can’t reel it in. After slowing this down and watching it a dozen times, it looks to me like he has possession at the highest point of the reception and then has it knocked out of his hands by #20 as he’s bringing it into his body on the way back to Earth.
One thing I found particularly intriguing about All is his ability to take his natural athleticism and translate it to blocking. That shows up quickly in the film, as he uses his feet well to get square to his blocking target at 00:42. At 1:59 he avoids overrunning his target, which is something I’ve seen fairly often from very athletic high school players. On that same play he breaks down too early, the byproduct of which is losing ye olde battle of pad level—and subsequently the block. This showed up in the film a few times, but he’s a high schooler who’s more a receiver than blocker so that’s not a surprise. There are also on-film incidents to point to as reason for optimism as at 3:04, where All lines up as an H-back and gets lower than the linebacker he fans out to block.
Then at 3:53 he crosses the front and gets low enough to pop up into the defensive end, sending him to the ground. The shoulder throw seems to be All’s go-to move in short areas, and it’s really effective; he rocks another guy back at 6:02 on a similar play. All does something similar at 5:07, cutting and getting upfield through the hole generated by the O-line’s kickout, at which point he shows an ability to quickly process in the open field by identifying the unblocked defender. All then gets low and throws a shoulder block that sends both of them to the turf. His ability to track his blocking assignment in the open field also is seen at 4:42, where the defender across from All reads run and takes off for the sideline, leaving All to suddenly break down and start moving laterally to adjust.
All’s tape leaves open the question of his strengths and weaknesses as a receiver, but the majority of scouting reports filed on him fill that gap. The tape David got allows us to judge him as a blocker, which in turn allows us to evaluate his ceiling. All is an excellent route runner, and he uses the athleticism that gets him open downfield in the run game as well. He routinely finds his assignment, whether that assignment is a corner 10 yards downfield or a linebacker four yards off the line. He also wins more blocks than he loses, with his shoulder as his primary means of short-area blocking. All will need to improve his technique in college (like most high schoolers, his pad level is high at times), but that’s why they have coaches; knowing where he’s supposed to be and having the quickness to get there is half the battle. Michigan also should get positional flexibility from All, as he has the route-running chops and speed to line up wide and the football IQ to line up at H-back and take on assignments in the run game. In a system so devoted to 21 and 22 personnel, he has the tools to get on the field. All should make good on that once he adds a bit of strength and learns to better utilize his hands when blocking.